Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Robin Meltzer’

London Liberal Democrats’ Autumn Conference

Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 25th October, 2013

Team LondonStephen KnightCreating jobs was the central theme of London Liberal Democrats’ autumn conference held in Camden last night, with inputs from the borough council, national and European levels. Both Sutton MPs, Tom Brake and Paul Burstow, were on hand to champion the work they and their colleagues are doing in the Party’s flagship London borough, with some interesting new information about how they are relating to some of Sutton’s “hidden gems”, such as the Royal Marsden and related centres for excellence looking at cancer. Housing was also high on the conference agenda, with Stephen Knight, one of the two LibDem members of the London Assembly, presenting his report on how the capital’s critical housing shortage can be tackled by building more homes, which would also bring many thousands of the currently unemployed qualified construction workers back into the labour force. Anood al-Samerai, Leader of the Opposition on Southwark Council, highlighted the need for more genuinely affordable homes and accused the Council’s current Labour ruling group of failing to ensure these are being provided by developers. Sarah Ludford MEP — whose trip to the US had been cancelled, meaning she was present after all, gave a brief summary of what she has been achieving at the European Parliament level, notable in her chosen field of Justice and Home Affairs. As many speakers emphasized, including Robin Meltzer, PPC for Richmond Park, in his closing speech to the conference, with all-out London borough elections taking place on the same day as the European elections in London next year (22 May), there must be an integrated campaign and it is a matter for celebration that the Liberal Democrats really will be fighting the European election next year on European issues — as the party of IN. It was heartening to not only see the numbers who turned out for the conference on a Thursday evening but also to feel the real buzz in the hall, which bodes well for the energy of the campaign next year.


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Nick Clegg’s Boost for Richmond Park

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 15th October, 2013

Nick CleggRobin MeltzerRobin Meltzer’s campaign to win the Richmond Park constituency in south-west London back from the Conservatives in May 2015 recevied a boost last night when Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg spoke at a fundraising dinner at the Russell family’s old home of Pembroke Lodge. Apart from singing the prospective parliamentary candidate’s praises, Nick particularly emphasized the pro-European message of the Liberal Democrats. Though the Party believes the EU would benefit from reform, it would, in Nick’s words, be a disaster for the UK to leave. This means that the Liberal Democrats really will pin their European colours to the mast in next May’s European elections — for the first time ever, if truth be told, despite the fact that the electorate knows where the Party stands on the issue. Because of the nature of Richmond Park constiuency and, let’s be frank, the affluence of most of the people attending last night’s dinner, there were some sharp questions about the proposed “mansion tax” on properties worth over £2 million pounds. But Nick held his ground on this and insisted that it was only right that the most wealthy help pay for the government policies that have been lifting millions of the poorest people out of tax all together. The junior Education Minister, David Laws, was the back-up speaker, not surprisingly highlighting the pupil premium and other Coalition government policies aimed at th less wll-off — and all Liberal Democrat initiatives. Robin Meltzer should get a pointer as to how the mood amongst voters in the constiuency is developing next May, when the borough elections take place alongside the Euro-poll. But the many thousands of pounds raised at the dinner will give him and the local party a shot in the arm and will lead to a campaign office being set up in Richmond once again. 


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Linda Wade Seizes Earl’s Court for LibDems

Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 17th September, 2010

Local Liberal Democrat campaigner Linda Wade has scored a stunning triumph in Earl’s Court Ward, Kensington & Chelsea, comfortably taking a seat off the Conservatives in a byelection held yesterday. This is the first time in the history of the Royal Borough that this ward has been Liberal/Liberal Democrat-held. Indeed, until last year, no Liberal Democrat had ever been elected to the Council, though that ‘nuls points’ record was broken by Carol Caruana in a by-election last summer in Colville ward, and in May this year, Carol was joined by Cllr Tim Jones. This further breakthrough is a tremendous tribute not only to Linda Wade’s record of work in the community but also to the brilliant campaign master-minded by Kensington’s LibDem PPC (and Vice-Chairman of London Region Liberal Democrats) Robin Meltzer. ‘Team London’, London Liberal Democrats’ new campaigning task force, swung into action behind longstanding local activists and the campaign was carried out with positively military precision. This is a wonderful development in the run up to the Liberal Democrats’ autumn conference, which opens in Liverpool on Saturday. And it just goes to prove the old addage: it’s the votes in the ballot box that count, not opinion polls!

Result: Linda Wade (LD) 703, Con 594, Lab 151, Ind 47, Ind 29, Grn 26, UKIP 18, majority 107, swing 17% Con to LibDem


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K&C and the Rennard Formula

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 9th March, 2010

Lord (Chris) Rennard was the ideal guest speaker at tonight’s launch for Chelsea and Fulham Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate Dirk Hazell — who was Chairman of London’s Conservatives before seeing the light. For it was the Rennard formula of targeting, choosing the right candidate and then bombarding the said ward or constituency with literature which enabled the local party to make its first breakthrough last summer, electing Carol Caruana to the borough council as the first ever elected Liberal Democrat councillor, representing Colville ward. Of course it helped that Carol (who works at the party headquarters in Cowley Street) not only lives in the ward but had already established a reputation for herself as a local champion, not least fighting to save the character of the Portobello Road. But it was the Rennard formula — implemented by agent Robin Meltzer, who is now the prospective parliamentary candidate for Kensington, and aided and abetted from helpers from all over London — that clinched it, with a very healthy majority, to boot. Now the challenge will be to elect Carol’s two running mates, Tim Jones and Peter Kosta, so that there is a Liberal Democrat group on the Council — albeit a small one — that can propose motions and start to function as a potential opposition in the otherwise largely true-blue Royal Borough. I was pleased to be at the launch event this evening, not only as part of my job as Chair of London Region LibDems to keep in touch with what is happening round the capital, but also because I fought the then Chelsea parliamentary seat in 1983. I moved the party up into second place on that occasion and I look forward to Dirk Hazell’s making greater progress under the revised boundaries.

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Trebles all Round in K&C

Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 23rd July, 2009

Carol Caruana and Caroline PidgeonWorkıng currently ın Turkey, it was great to hear of Carol Caruana’s sweepıng victory ın the Kensington and Chelsea by-electıon yesterday, polling more votes than the Tories and Labour combined. Having lived ın the borough when İ first moved to London, İ know what a hard nut it is to crack! İ met some pretty aggressive Labour canvassers when I was campaigning there recently and some people were intimidated to take down LibdDem posters from their windows (though many remained up). Labour seemed to believe it was their divine right (sanctioned by the ruling Tories) to represent the ward. Well. they got their come-uppance, thanks to several years of hard work by Carol and her local colleagues Robin Meltzer and Jacob Thorne. Labour slumped to third place. Trebles all round!

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Dr Cable’s Prescription for the Economy

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 1st October, 2008

   Deep in the Tory heartland of the Notting Hill set, Vince Cable gave his perspective on the current financial crisis to a standing-room only Food for Thought event put on by Kensington and Chelsea Liberal Democrats this evening, compered by the former Strictly Come Dancing producer and local party chair, Robin Meltzer. Regular viewers of Newsnight or listeners to Radio 4’s Today programme have had ample opportunity to savour Vince’s experience and common sense in recent weeks; what is more. he is a heavyweight figure with a light touch. He gave the meeting the compliment of trying out new ideas on us, reflecting some of the discussion that has been going on within the parliamentary party. 

Although giving the Bank of England its independence was a key LibDem idea actually implemented by Labour, Vince believes more government intervention in its affairs might now be advisable, so that the central goal of keeping inflation down is complemented by a move to lower interest rates. He was critical of the American rescue package that Congress rejected the other night, though he does accept that there has to be a plan, not only in the United States, but in Europe as well. It was probably a mistake to demutualise building socities a few years ago, Vince argued, though he was strongly criticised when he said so at the time. And we have to accept that house prices are going to fall much further, more banks are going to come under pressure and things are going to get noticeably worse before they get better. Unemployment is likely to rise significantly towards Christmas.

It is hard to make people feel confident and reassured in an atmosphere of such economic gloom, but Vince managed. In contrast, young George Osborne at the Conservative conference in Birmingham this week looked like a frightened schoolboy who had bitten off more than he could chew. Who would you choose to help steer the UK out of global choppy waters: Dr Cable or Mr Osborne? It’s a no-brainer.

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